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Outdoor Dining Districts

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As part of the City of Hamilton’s ongoing commitment to supporting economic recovery due to the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, on May 13, 2020, Hamilton City Council unanimously approved the creation of the Outdoor Dining Districts program. This program will allow eligible local businesses to establish temporary seasonal patios and seating areas on municipal or private property (if current zoning is compliant) during the 2020 Summer/Fall seasons.

There is no application fee to submit an Outdoor Dining District application, however depending on your requirements, additional applications and fees may be needed. The Outdoor Dining Districts Team will work with you to share all requirements and help you through the process.

Outdoor Dining Districts will be permitted in:

  • Business Improvement Areas (BIAs)
  • Community Improvement Plan Areas (CIPAs)
  • Private Property (zoning compliant)

Outdoor Dining Districts shall:

  • be permitted within BIAs, certain municipal property and on private property
  • be limited to cafes, restaurants and bars only
  • comply with all applicable City of Hamilton By-laws
  • adhere to all applicable public health requirements, including an COVID-19 related public health requirements as all as all Provincial Orders
  • permit alcohol service or consumption of alcohol with Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) and City of Hamilton approval
  • provide proof of commercial general liability insurance ($5 million) coverage endorsed to include the City of Hamilton as additional insured
  • be compliant with the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA)
  • require 2/3 buy-in from all businesses on the affected block(s) through petition if not within a BIA
  • require that the applicants be responsible for the management and operation of any approved Outdoor Dining Districts, including ensuring that they are staffed at all times when open, to ensure proper use, cleaning and physical distancing
  • be permitted until October 31, 2020. The applicant is responsible for removal of the patio and returning the space to its original form no later than 7 am on November 1st.

Outdoor Dining Districts shall NOT:

  • have any negative impacts with respect to pedestrian safety, accessibility, emergency services, pubic transit, private accesses, etc.
  • change the existing occupancy load of the food service location (as of March 18, 2020)
  • permit smoking, pursuant to the Smoke-Free Act and ‘no smoking’ signage shall be posted at the entrance/exit
  • permit outdoor food preparation (unless from licensed food trucks, street food vending or ice cream trucks permitted to operate)
  • permit the construction of structures with any area greater than 10m2 or the use of tents greater than 60m2
  • permit outside amplified music/sound without an approved Noise Exemption Permit (PDF, )
  • permit obstruction of stormwater flows or block stormwater drains. The Applicant shall be responsible for clearance of any debris and overall maintenance to ensure free flow of water

How to apply for an Outdoor Dining District

  • Step 1 - Contact the Outdoor Dining Districts team to start the process at [email protected]
  • Step 2 - Review the Criteria for Outdoor Dining Districts
  • Step 3 - If within a BIA, you will need to submit written endorsement for the Outdoor Dining District OR if not in a BIA, you will need to speak with neighbouring businesses and get 2/3 to sign off on the Outdoor Dining District (the project team will provide more information).
  • Step 4 - If your dining establishment is on private property and you are a tenant (not a landlord or owner). You must complete the Consent of the Owner or Landlord form (PDF, 48 KB) and submit as part of your application.
  • Step 5 - Prepare a detailed sketch or site map of the proposed Outdoor Dining District area. Maps on municipal property must include dimensions of the patio/dining area, location of entrances/exits from the building and from the patio/dining area, location of any fire department connection and municipal fire hydrant, type of barrier being used, placement of tables and chairs identifying the 2m physical distancing requirements.
  • Step 6 - Complete the applicable Outdoor Dining District Application Form:

Button for Municipal Property Application

Button for Private Property Application

Once your Outdoor Dining Districts application has been submitted, a member of our team will contact you within 2 business days to discuss further and identify next steps. Total approval time for Outdoor Dining Applications is 15 business days.

Contact us

Julia Davis
Business Development & BIA Officer
Phone: 905-546-2424 ext. 2632
Email: [email protected]

Sarah Rock
Business Development Officer
Phone: 905-546-2424 ext. 7918
Email: [email protected]